Farmers and producers

New chair for Soil & Health body

[11 August/Rural News] Graham Clarke has been selected as the new chair of the Soil & Health Association. Mr Clarke is a fourth generation farmer and until 2014 was a sheep and beef farmer in South Otago, a farm certified by BioGro. Mr Clarke said that he is passionate about sustainable food production and sees...

Flood-hit farms to get govt assistance

[1 August/ Radio NZ] The government has announced a support package for flood-hit farmers in Otago by way of rural assistance payments and some taxation flexibility. The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced those floods a medium scale adverse event for Dunedin City, Clutha District, Waitaki District and the Central Otago District, and recognised...

DairyNZ backs immigration back-down

[25 July/ NZ Herald] DairyNZ is backing calls for the Government to rethink its new immigration policy as dairy farmers rely on skilled migrant workers who are wrongly classified as lower-skilled- giving uncertainty to the employees and their employers. DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle said many of the best performing dairy farm teams consist...

Farmers grab valuables and get out

[22 July/ NZ Herald] Taieri Plains farmers were given two hours to grab valuables and leave as the Taieri River near Dunedin was about to breach last Friday night. Otago Regional Council said the flooding is the second worst on record. The Otago region experienced severe flooding, slips and multiple road closures after a night...

Help sought for flood-hit farmers

[23 July/ Otago Daily Times] The Otago Regional Council is asking all farmers in the wider region to contact Federated Farmers to help those affected by the Taieri Plains flooding. Dozens of Taieri Plains properties remain evacuated with paddocks and pastures flooded with water from a wild storm. Federated Farmers is seeking assistance with feed...

‘Quietening off’ in farm sales continues

[18 July/ Radio NZ] Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show thirteen fewer farms were sold for the three months ending June compared to the year before. Rural Spokesperson Brian Peacocke said the median price per hectare for all farms sold decreased slightly; however, REINZ’s farm price index, which takes into account farm...

Tenancy law changes apply to farmers

[16 July/ Otago Daily Times] The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2), is before a parliamentary select committee and will affect landlords, including farmers who provide accommodation as part of an employment package. The Bill would make three areas of change to the Residential Tenancies Act to better manage methamphetamine contamination, liability for careless damage...

Wider view for former industry chairman

[12 July/ Rural News Group] Federated Farmers’ new Vice-President, Andrew Hoggard plans to take a much wider view of agriculture. Mr Hoggard’s previous role of Chairman of the dairy section has been taken over by Waikato Dairy Farmer Chris Lewis. Mr Hoggard said farming faces a difficulty in numerous areas and catchments where dairy and...

Young Farmer win ‘still sinking in’

 [10 July/ NZ Herald] Sheep and beef farmer Nigel Woodhead was named Young Farmer of the Year after three days of intense competition spread across Palmerston North and Feilding. He won a prize worth almost $100,000, including a 25hp tractor, a quad bike and $15,000. Mr Woodhead said it is a dream come true and...

Brethren charities worth $300m under investigation

[8 July/ NZ Herald] A network of Brethren-run registered charities, limited partnerships and companies centred on Waikato-based Trinity Lands face a Charities Service investigation following complaints that their tax-free status allows unfair competitive advantage, allowing accumulation of hundreds of millions of dollars of farmland. Trinity reported tax-free profits of $21.6m between 2012 and 2016 that...

Young Farmer decider on this weekend

 [6 July/ NZ Herald] Grand Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year begun last Thursday at Massey University, with the seven grand finalists battling over three days to be named New Zealand’s top Young Farmer. The finalists include Lisa Kendall from the Northern region, Richard French from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty, James Lawn...

Farmers’ social licence fast expiring – warning

 [4 July/ Rural News] Dairy Farmer, Businessman, former National Minister of Agriculture and former DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton said farmers’ social license to operate was expiring as rules and regulations requiring farmers to improve farm systems were becoming more complex. Mr Luxton said the world is entering an industrial revolution with the emergence of new...

Treasury’s Landcorp advice shows challenge for growth-minded firms with state owner

 [3 July/ National Business Review] Official Information Act papers show state-owned enterprise (SOE) Landcorp Farming wants to reinvest cash to grow despite the Treasury’s advice to return it to the government as dividends. SOE’s are expected to operate as profitable and efficient businesses, however, Treasury said the government has other uses for its money than...

Oxford dairy farm sold to overseas interests for $18.2m

 [2 July/Stuff] Craigmore Dairy II LP, part of the wider Craigmore Farming Group, has purchased a dairy farm at Oxford for $18.2 million. The investment by Craigmore Dairy II LP may lead to increased milk production and milk product export receipts, as well as increased efficiency productivity, job creation and expenditure on various development projects....

Put the trust back in farming, new Fed Farmers president says

 [1 July/ National Business Review] The first Federated Farmers female President, Katie Milne, said regaining New Zealand’s trust in farming is an objective of her leadership. Ms Milne said this would involve relating the farming message to farmers and farming to the New Zealand public in a more grounded way to connect better with the...

Farmer confidence jumps to record high

[27 June/ NZ Herald] New Zealand farmer confidence and investment intentions have improved during the second quarter of 2017 based on new data from Rabobank New Zealand.  Net farmer confidence reached its highest level since the survey began in 2003 at 54 per cent (up from 27 per cent at the end of March) while...

English: Urban-rural gap not big

 [26 June/ NZ Farmers Weekly] The Federated Farmer’s annual conference saw a line of politicians addressing farming leaders in advance of this year’s general election.  Prime Minister Bill English said that the country faced significant strategic challenges managing growth and the environment but argued that the size of any divisive rural-urban split is overblown.  He...

Katie Milne becomes first woman president of Feds

 [24 June/ Rural News Group] West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne is the new Federated Farmers’ National President, becoming the first female president in the Federation’s history. Ms Milne was previously a Federation Board Member and West Coast Provincial President, as well as Dairy Woman of the Year and a Rural Women of Influence in...

‘Lions led by donkeys’: Winston Peters makes a pitch for farmer vote

 [23 June/ NZ Farmer] New Zealand First has announced three farmers as candidates for the 2017 general election; Mark Patterson for Clutha Southland, Rob Stevenson in Rangitikei and Stu Husband in Waikato.  Mr Peters announced the candidates at the Federated Farmers annual meeting.  He suggested that the Federation had failed to provide leadership, supporting National...

Tourist tent accommodation sparks interest at Fieldays

[16 June/ Stuff] Hawkes Bay company Safari Tents NZ offer a range of tents, made from wooden pole frames and fabric, sparking interest from farmers looking to utilise their land as an alternative income. Safari Tents NZ Owner James Lamb said depending on location, views, accessibility, local attractions and furnishings, farmers can earn $200-$500 per...

Rural mental health: ‘People are suffering in silence’

[15 June/ Radio NZ] Chief Executive of Mobile Health Mark Eager said access to mental health was a big area of concern in rural communities. Mr Eager runs the national mobile surgery bus and has helped create the Rural Health Hub at the National Fieldays this year. Mr Eager wanted to raise awareness of mental...

Green Farmer hopes to bridge divide

[10 June/ Otago Daily Times] Wairarapa farmer John Hart hopes to bridge the rural/urban divide by becoming a Green MP. Mr Hart has recently been announced at No14 on the Green Party list for September’s general election. The party presently has 14 MPs, and recent polling suggests a similar result, leaving Mr Hart optimistic in...

KKR to purchase Harvard dairy assets

[7 June/ Agri Investor] KRR is planning to purchase Harvard Management Company’s dairy investments in New Zealand for more than $70 million. The sale includes 8,500 acres of dairy farms and 5,500 cows located on the South Island and is expected to close, at earliest, at the end of 2017, pending regulatory approval. Harvard Management...

Depression guru Doug Avery recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours

[5 June/ Stuff] Marlborough farmer Doug Avery has received the Queen’s Birthday award of the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for the effort he has put in to emphasise rural community mental health problems. As a retired farmer, Mr Avery now helps farmers develop resilience in the face of multiple challenges and...